Steps to follow when your student takes time off from collegeKimberly Yavorski
When it comes to personal safety, today’s college students live in a world that requires vigilance and awareness. Colleges and universities work to foster safe environments, but students share responsibility.
By this point in the year, your student has acclimated to their new campus and life. That makes it the perfect time to check in about what they do on a daily basis to keep themselves safe. What is the relationship between their campus and the surrounding area (whether it’s rural or urban)? Are there places they shouldn’t walk, jog or bike? Are they good about using the buddy system?
For your part, you can help by supplying good advice and the best safety tools available.
First things first: your student should always follow this essential safety checklist. Many of these recommendations were shared at orientation and move-in, but it’s good to revisit the list periodically — it may take a while before they check off every box.
Students who drink excessively are at higher risk of being involved in car accidents, hazing and sexual assault. Keep talking to your student throughout college about alcohol and substance use. Ask questions and listen to what they have to say about social situations they’ve been in or witnessed. Talk through possible scenarios so they can anticipate how they might act, react and help their friends. Learn more:
Your student’s smartphone can be a great self-defense tool. Safety apps give them instant access to authorities, parents and fellow students when they feel they’re in an unsafe situation. Encourage your student to ask their friends for safety app recommendations, and give free apps a test drive. Here are a few to consider.
Watch Over Me – The user activates the app when needed and is tracked until they check in safely at their destination. If they don’t check in, Watch Over Me alerts their emergency contact list immediately with their location. The app also alerts the user when they enter a high crime area.
Circle of 6 – In an uncomfortable or risky situation, the user activates Circle of 6 to send a pre-programmed SMS alert message with their exact location to a chosen circle of six friends. Two taps on a smartphone is all it takes.
Shake 2 Alert – This app includes live GPS tracking and SMS and email alerts to the user’s chosen contacts. When activated with a shake, the user’s smartphone audio and video begin recording.
Panik – Panik sends preconfigured messages to people the user has selected with only one tap on the SMS dialog send button and also lets the user post status updates on social media, with a location and preconfigured message automatically attached.
These items pair well with a self-defense class because, when faced with danger, your student needs to be prepared to use them quickly and with confidence.
Knowing and practicing safety precautions will lead to them feeling empowered, not scared. Informed students are ready to steer clear of dangerous situations. Prepared students are more likely to emerge unscathed from an attempted crime. Help your student be both.